School closure decision was ‘emotional but pragmatic’

Lewes New School is closing after a journey of 18 years
Lewes New School is closing after a journey of 18 years

Lewes New School (LNS), launched to offer an alternative to mainstream education, is closing.

The “emotional but pragmatic” decision comes in the face of many economic factors, but it has been functioning on a tight budget for many years.

There are currently 27 pupils there and fees are £2,703 per child per term.

LNS, an independent primary school and nursery for children aged from three to 11, was founded in Talbot Terrace, Lewes, in 2000 by a group of forward-thinking parents and educators.

The school said in a statement on Wednesday: “The journey has evolved over the years, but the core has centred on the children and adults co-creating the curriculum as much as possible, inspired by their curiosity and imagination and informed by the skills they need to flourish as lifelong learners and purposeful members of their communities.

“The children are assessed rather than tested, and in this atmosphere have found a freedom to explore new experiences and develop a rounded, articulate outlook on life.

“For many years LNS has been functioning on a tight budget, and with many economic factors coming into play, this year has seen an emotional but pragmatic decision to close.”

Closure will come at the end of term on July 18, with the children moving to a range of local schools, including Dharma Primary School and Dorothy Stringer High School in Brighton; Priory School, Lewes, and Lewes Old Grammar School; and Annan Farm, at Easons Green, Uckfield.

The school statement continued: “The successes of LNS have been many, perhaps summed up in the words of one of our pupils who said ‘Lewes New School lets our ideas and spirits run free and lets us be who we are.’

“In the light of this, we are secure in the knowledge that our children are equipped to venture out and enjoy new experiences in new schools.

“Our thanks go to all the children, staff, parents, governors and trustees over the years who have all contributed to making the school a special place for those who have had the privilege of being here.”

Plans for the future use of the school building are being explored. In the meantime it will be kept open and available for hire.